In yet another example of central planners not comprehending the unintended consequences of their actions, Glenn Stevens - head of the Reserve Bank of Australia - commented last night on the curious lack of animal spirits holding back the global economic recovery. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes though, of course, his argument is disingenuous at best since it is the actions (and consequences) of central banks crowding out other market participants and creating a culture of investors who moo (herd-like along with their yield-chasing, buyback purchasing, capex cutting peers) rather than roar... Central banks have turned investors from bulls to cows...
In the Golden Age of the Central Banker it is impossible to distinguish fundamental economic reasons for asset class price movements from politically-driven strategic reasons. When words are used for strategic effect rather than a genuine transmission of information you create a virtual stalking horse. It’s a focus on how something is said as opposed to what is described. It’s a focus on form rather than content, on truthiness rather than truth. It’s why authenticity is as rare as a unicorn in the public world today.
Following the overnight ramp in various JPY crosses (dragging equity futures higher, and the Nikkei up 0.8%) it is as if the market is desperate to put all of last week's geopolitical events in the rearview mirror, and while yesterday there were no economic events of note, today's CPI and existing home prints should provide at least some distraction from the relentless barrage of one-line updates on Ukraine and Gaza. Still, that is precisely where the biggest risk remains, with an emphasis on the possibility of more Russian sanctions, this time by Europe.
Furious money printing by the world’s major central banks is not generating real growth and prosperity - but professional economists never seem to get the word.
No one knows how this will play out. We all know on some level that it will not end well, but exactly how and when it will all backfire remains to be seen. We’ve already had two epic Crises in the last 15 years. By the look of things, we’re heading for a third one in the not to distant future.
35,000 global M&A deals will likely be made this year, promising “efficiencies” and “synergies,” hence job cuts. The Great M&A Frenzy of 2007/8 ended in the Great Jobs Crisis!
"It's not clear to us that breaking commercial ties with the Russia partners, consumers gets anyone to where they want to be," warns one political think tank as AP reports, The White House is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine - a move reflecting frustration at Europe's reluctance to bit off its nose to spite its face. Until now, the U.S. has insisted on hitting Russia with penalties in concert with Europe in order to maximize the impact, but, as Putin warned, those same economic ties have made Europe fearful that tougher penalties against Russia could boomerang and hurt their own economies. Obam has faced criticism over a lack of action, as Bob Corker blasted "sometimes I'm embarrassed for you, as you constantly talk about sanctions and yet, candidly, we never see them put in place," but the European 'concerns' are just as valid in America as Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26% this year.
- Secret Path Revealed for Chinese Billions Overseas (BBG)
- Traders Flood U.S. With $3.4 Trillion of Bond-Auction Demand (BBG)
- Just in time to cover bad earnings in a massive $3.8 billion "one-time charge": Citi says to pay $7 billion to settle securities investigation (Reuters)
- Troubled Epirito Santo family loosens grip on Portugal's BES (Reuters)
- BES puts in place new executives after central bank push (Reuters)
- Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
- Portugal speeds up Banco Espírito Santo management changes (FT)
- Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss (Reuters)
- Russia Vows to Respond After Shelling From Ukraine (BBG)
- Ukraine forces end rebel airport blockade (Reuters)
- Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since '70s (WSJ)
The UK had feared whiplash from sanctions on Russian oligarchs but this 'boomerang' is too much to bear... As Bloomberg reports, “We’re seeing a lot less Russian surnames on the booking sheet," at London's Mahiki, a Polynesian-themed nightclub in upmarket Mayfair where a bottle of Cristal Champagne goes for $719 - and Russian customers are being supplanted by revelers from countries including China and Nigeria. “The Russian market was like a Champagne fountain,” notes on ereveler, "The money was coming into the top and flowing down..." but not so much anymore...
"We’re in a world where there are very few unambiguously cheap assets...If you ask me to give you the one big bargain out there, I’m not sure there is one." But frustrating as the situation can be for investors hoping for better returns, the bigger question for the global economy is what happens next. How long will this low-return environment last? And what risks are being created that might be realized only if and when the Everything Boom ends?
Economic analysts are torn as to how important Saudi Arabia will prove to the global economy in years ahead. In the first half of 2014, the US surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s foremost oil producer. This sparked widespread predictions that the US would soon become an oil exporter, reducing its dependency on Riyadh and harming Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the Middle-East. However, the ISIS invasion of Iraq and Syria, the Boko Haram insurgency and continued oil theft in Nigeria, unrest in Venezuela and ongoing violence in Sudan and South Sudan have changed the deal.
Is there any doubt that we are living in a bubble economy? At this moment in the United States we are simultaneously experiencing a stock market bubble, a government debt bubble, a corporate bond bubble, a bubble in San Francisco real estate, a farmland bubble, a derivatives bubble and a student loan debt bubble. And of course similar things could be said about most of the rest of the planet as well. And when these current financial bubbles in America burst, the pain is going to be absolutely enormous.
Just when we thought US foreign policy couldn't sink to new lows, it does just that. Recall yesterday's less than veiled threat by China president Xi Jinping Xi called for greater military communication with the U.S., adding that "A conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world. As long as we uphold mutual respect, maintain strategic patience and remain unperturbed by individual incidents and comments, we’ll be able to keep relations on a firm footing despite ups and downs that may come our way.” So what does the US do? Nothing short of taking a machete and poking the Dragon in the mouth.
"There is a colossal bubble in all asset prices and eventually it will burst," is the subtle recurring message from The Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report's Marc Faber, warnings that "maybe has begun to burst already." While Faber admits he has called for such a correction previously, he notes that the difference now is that "valuations are so much higher; and contrary to what the mainstream economists believe, I don't believe the global economy is strengthening; in fact I believe it is weakening." Furthermore, while "you never know what will trigger for a bull market or bear market is until after the fact," Faber offers 3 factors (aside from the Fed) that could trigger a 30% crash or more... beginning with "a) In The White House we have a very poor President - which will lead to political issues domestically in the US," which are not priced in.
The dollar's demise has been often foretold. The euro, SDRs, the yuan, Bitcoins all were going to be viable alternatives. The dollar persists.